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There comes a time in any makeup wearer’s life where the inevitable mirror-free application has to happen. Maybe you’re in the back on an Uber frantically running late, or in a guest bedroom where there’s a distinct lack of dressing table, or rummaging around in a festival tent – but either way, mirror free makeup application is a skill worth knowing. It’s also important to have the right sort of products on hand for this specific (and stressful) eventuality. Here are my go-to’s.
The key to any makeup application is in preparation. So a good moisturiser is essential. I love to use the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre before applying makeup, as it plumps and smooths my complexion. The moisturiser leaves a slightly sticky finish to make your base glide on and stay put.
A great mirror-free option is the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream SPF 50+. One pump of this smudged on with fingers can pretty much blur out any blemishes. Secondly, it evens the skin tone while adding a subtle glow and that all-important sun protection. Another great option is the Work It Tinted Moisturiser, which offers less in the way of coverage, but still helps even out the complexion for a no-makeup look.
Contour & Highlight
If in doubt, adding some glow can always bring a haphazard makeup look together. The new Becca Ignite Highlighters are amazing for giving cheekbones that frosty glazed doughnut effect – but you’ll only need a drop! For a more subtle and dewy cheek, I love the Burt’s Bees All Aglow Highlighter. It combines a shimmery pigment with an oil core for a truly wet-look gloss.
Contouring can feel tricky without a mirror, but the Westman Atelier Face Trace Stick is absolutely foolproof. A swipe of this sheer stick under the cheekbones will add definition without ever looking obvious or overdone. The packaging is also a total joy. You can also add a hint of definition to the cheeks using a cream blush. I’ve been loving the Superfluid Combo Goals, which can be dabbed on from the stick then blended in seconds for a subtle wash of colour.
On the eyes, cream products reign supreme when applying makeup without a mirror. I love the Too Faced Melted Chocolate Liquid Matte Eyeshadows which can be applied with your fingertips and blended incredibly easily. Even better, once they set, they stay put. For a little extra sheen, a smudge of the Lush Eyeliner in Tellin (also applied with fingertips) can give a gorgeously ‘90s frosty blue look.
Applying mascara without a mirror can feel stressful, but the Silly George Heart Eyes Mascara makes it a little easier. You can choose whether you want a fully loaded brush or a softer look. Going for the more lengthening, fluttery effect means less product to get in the wrong places – but it still gives a beautiful lash look.
Another great tip for when you’re applying makeup without a mirror is glitter. Pressing on some sparkle can fool the world into thinking you’ve expended time and effort on your look in seconds. The Smith & Cult Glitter Shots are absolutely ideal for this, as they combine glitter with a sticky gel to hold the particles in place.
Most mirror-free application is reliant on fingers, but if that’s not your vibe, the Sunday Ivy Beauty Sponges are fantastic. The sponges contain microfiber, which gives them a fluffy appearance, and unlike most beauty sponges, they can be used dry. They give an impeccable blend to all cream products, offering an almost airbrushed finish. I’m also a huge fan of the Tarte Airbuki Brush to ensure my cheek products look as seamless as possible.
My final recommendation is a fragrance – in particular, the Tom Daxon Crushing Bloom Perfume. Nice perfume doesn’t just lift your mood – but it can fool others into thinking you’re perfectly pulled together. One spritz of this incredible scent and no one will notice if y ourmakeup looks a little funky – promise.
Annie Walton Doyle is a writer based in Manchester, UK. She typically writes about beauty and other "personal aesthetics," with a healthy dose of both social commentary and stupidity. When not touching makeup, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature, and mysteries. Find her on Instagram @anniewaltondoyle.